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PBS MediaShift starts publishing ebooks; first topics: cord-cutting and self-publishing

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PBS’s digital media initiative MediaShift is launching a line of ebooks. The launch is part of a larger experiment with PBS, which is also planning to publish its own ebooks this year.

MediaShift’s first two titles are How to Self-Publish Your Book (80 pages, $3.99) and Your Guide to Cutting the Cord to Cable TV (50 pages, $2.99). (I have to point out here that GigaOM’s also got a cord-cutting ebook, written by our own Janko Roettgers.) The titles are available through Kindle (s AMZN) and the iBookstore (s AAPL) for now and will eventually be available through Nook (s BKS); print-on-demand editions will also be released, priced at $4.99 to $6.99.

Mark Glaser, the executive editor of MediaShift, says he’s planning on releasing 10 to 20 ebooks this year, depending on how well the first titles sell. “This is a test for us and PBS,” he said, “so we will learn as we go and adjust prices, length, subject matter and more.”

9 Responses to “PBS MediaShift starts publishing ebooks; first topics: cord-cutting and self-publishing”

  1. Will PBS be selling it’s eBooks to Libraries? Either through aggregators like ebrary & Ebsco, or, even, using a direct-to-Library model? With or without DRM?

  2. This kind of thing is happening all over. The University of Tennessee School of Journalism and Electronic Media is now publishing its own line of journalism texts for high school and collegiate journalism courses. (Disclosure: I’m author or co-author of several.) The books are available on the iPad (multimedia), in print and on the Kindle. The focus here is developing multimedia textbooks. We have just uploaded our 11th title.

  3. It sounds like an interesting idea, especially if PBS can leverage its own programming and content resources (brands, personalities, etc.) PBS and GigaOm also hold a huge advantage over other ebook publishers in that they already have huge audiences that they can directly market to on the Web, via email, and in PBS’ case, its broadcasting partners.

    Ian Lamont
    Publisher, “In 30 Minutes” guides

  4. tomwhiteindc

    I think getting into e-books is a great idea. I’m just not so sure the “How to on cord-cutting” is the best idea. A whole book? How about: 1) cancel cable; 2) buy a Roku box; 3) join Netflix, Hulu, etc.

    • Mark Glaser

      Cutting the cord sounds simple, but there are a lot of services to choose from. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, plus now Aereo, along with hardware like Roku, Boxee, Apple TV. It’s more complicated than it should be, plus this e-book looks not only at the various services but also there are some intelligent essays on the subject as well.

  5. Reblogged this on Informed Ideas and commented:
    This intrigues me. I am a huge fan of PBS programming, which I think is among the best available. If they carry the same level of content excellence through to their ebooks, I suspect this will be a very rewarding experiment for them. The risk, of course, is if the quality of the ebooks is not up to the same standards of quality as their programming, in which case it could erode the trust and superior reputation PBS has worked so hard to build. I guess we’ll see as more ebooks are published.